Which of these more closely describes your Halloweens as a child:
Trick or treating. Bobbing for apples. Telling ghost stories around a bonfire.
Or, soaping windows. Spinning a black cat by its tail. Overturning porta-potties.
Your answer might very well depend on your audience. Our “G-rated” stories flow freely when we share our experiences with our kids and grandkids while the conversation often spins into “R” territory when comparing notes with our peers.
For many of us, Halloween behavior is something of an aberration, anyway. It’s the one holiday where we’re encouraged to leave our everyday self behind and assume an alternative identity for a few hours. Still, behind the mask and trappings of our alter ego, we remain us at the core. But what about those relatives from our family tree for whom Halloween is like every other day? We often call them black sheep or “the skeletons in our closet.”
Every family has them and every family has a different way of dealing with them. The Yorkshire Post has reported the chances of finding a convicted criminal or secret adoption in your own lineage. “Relative” over at Family Skeletons shows how solid genealogical research can often debunk a family legend that has survived generations. PixelPi on her Motes blog nicely illustrates the mental grappling we exercise when addressing these knots on our family trees.
Personally, I like country singer John Anderson’s take on the subject. This video combines clever visuals with Anderson’s funny words and catchy tune.
Just for fun. Check out Terry Thornton’s post on Halloween-related names, Janice Brown’s fascinating post about New Hampshire body-snatching and grave-sitters or Jasia’s comments about dressing up the family pooch for the occasion.